Papaya Post

Dead papaya?

Dead papaya?

It lives!

It lives!

In late January, 2009 we had a  very hard freeze with the morning temperature dropping to 23 degrees F.  We had placed about 100 gal. of water in garbage cans around the base of this, our largest papaya.  We ran a mister all night long trying to keep the papaya alive.  The plant took a serious beating as you can tell from all the ice on it.  All the papaya fruit ended up in the compost bin  because of the freeze damage.  Now in late April the stump has sent out new growth.  In a month or two it will bloom and new fruit will set but probably not be large enough to pick by the end of the year.  If our previous experience is indicative, the new growth, currently at about 4′ off the ground, will  reach a height of about 15-20′.  As it grows taller it continues to bloom and set new fruit.  Our guests love these organically grown fruit with their breakfasts.   We like the challenge of trying to grow these tropical fruit in our sub-tropical clime.  Challenge it is as this is the only papaya  of five to survive that freeze.  Two years ago we harvested over 85 full grown papaya fruit from these plants.  We have just started new plants from seed and will soon transplant them  three feet from the south side of our home/bed and breakfast.  The red brick walls of the building will be heated by the sun during the day and then radiate that heat out toward the plants at night.  Hopefully, they will handle cold weather better there.  We look forward to leaning out of a 2nd story window and picking the fruit.  Using a swaying extension ladder gets a little unnerving when you are up 12-15′ in the air!

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